Do you think all tahini is healthy? Think again

Who doesn't love tahini? As a dip, as a salad dressing, and in so many more Israeli staple meals, tahini is central. But if you knew how many calories are in tahini, would you still consume it?

Hummus dish with tahini (photo credit: PIXABAY)
Hummus dish with tahini
(photo credit: PIXABAY)

A very small amount of Israel's beloved tahini can be full of calories without us knowing.

"Two tablespoons of tahini alone" as well as a small halva snack can be packed to the rim, in fact. So how do we know which tahini is the healthiest for us and which we should perhaps ditch?

Dr. Maya Roseman, joining 103FM on Tuesday morning, explained that "a tablespoon or two of tahini on a salad, health-wise, is the best, but a heaping tablespoon of tahini is work approximately 200 calories. If you want to add a portion of fat to your salad, then add a flat tablespoon of tahini."

She explained that although this may not be totally satisfying in terms of taste, but for absorbing vitamins, a regular tablespoon is perfect.

Which tahini is the healthiest?

Tasting tahini at Asif (credit: ARIER EFRON)Tasting tahini at Asif (credit: ARIER EFRON)

"All tahini has a lot of calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc and is even a source of serotonin, which is the substance created in the brain that improves our mood and even reduces the need for sweets," Dr. Roseman explained. "Note, however, that what is healthy for us is 100% whole sesame tahini, not 'pure' or 'fine' sesame."

According to Dr. Roseman, only whole sesame tahini has six times the calcium, five times the iron and much more dietary fiber. Two tablespoons of raw whole sesame tahini have more calcium than bio-yogurt and more iron than chicken.

Halva, which is also made of sesame seeds, is one of the healthiest sweets out there. "There are halvas with 50% sugar and there are some without sugar at all, which are the ones we prefer from a health point of view," said Dr. Roseman. "You should read the ingredients and make sure they contain mannitol, xylitol and all kinds of other natural sweeteners that have no health problems at all. The small snacks have few calories and you can combine up to two in your daily food intake."